Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

1

peril their inward strength, and destroy the peace and harmony of their souls.

8. When men rush into the labyrinth of words, formulas, and opinions, without having gained a progressive knowledge of the realities of life, their minds must develop on this one basis, and can have no other source of strength.

9. The schools hastily substitute an artificial method of words for the truer method of Nature, which knows no hurry, and is content to wait.

In this way a specious form of development is produced, hiding the want of real inward strength, but satisfying times like our own.

Man! if thou seekest the truth in this natural order, thou wilt find it as thou hast need of it for thy position and for the career which is opening before thee.

II. The pure sentiment of truth and wisdom is formed in the narrow circle of our personal relations, the circumstances which suggest our actions, and the powers we need to develop.

12. The performance of acts which are contrary to our inward sense of right, takes from us the power of recognizing truth, and our principles and impressions lose in nobleness, simplicity, and purity.

13. And thus all human wisdom rests on the strength of a heart that follows truth, and all human happiness on this feeling of simplicity and innocence.

14. A man's domestic relations are the first and most important of his nature.

15. A man works at his calling, and bears his share of the public burdens, that he may have undisturbed enjoyment of his home.

16. Thus the education which fits a man for his profession and position in the state must be made subordinate to that which is necessary for his domestic happiness.

21.

22.

17. The home is the true basis of the education of humanity.

18. It is the home that gives the best moral training, whether for private or public life.

19. A man's greatest need is the knowledge of God.

20. The purest pleasures of his home do not always satisfy him.

His weak, impressionable nature is powerless without God to endure constraint, suffering, and death.

God is the Father of humanity, and his children are immortal. 23.

Sin is both the cause and effect of want of faith, and -is an act opposed to what a man's inmost sense of good and evil tells him to be right.

24. It is because humanity believes in God that I am contented in my humble dwelling.

25. I base all liberty on justice, but I see no certainty of justice in the world so long as men are wanting in uprightness, piety, and love.

26. The source of justice and of every other blessing in the world, the source of all brotherly love amongst men, lies in the great conception of religion that we are the children of God.

27. That man of God who, by his sufferings and death, restored to men the sense that God is their Father, is indeed the Saviour of the world. His teaching is justice itself, a simple philosophy of practical value for all, the revelation of God the Father to his erring children.

3. SWISS NEWS, 1782.

1. The child at its mother's breast is the weakest and most dependent of human creatures, and yet it is already receiving the first moral impressions of love and gratitude.

2. Morality is nothing but a result of the development in the child of these first sentiments of love and gratitude.

3. The first development of the child's powers should come from his participation in the work of his home, for this work is necessarily what the parents understood best, what most absorbs their attention, and what they are most competent to teach.

4. But even if this were not so, work undertaken to supply real needs would be just as truly the surest foundation of a good education.

5. To engage the attention of the child, to exercise his judgments, to open his heart to noble sentiments, is, I think, the chief end of education; and how can this end be reached so surely as by training the child as early as possible in the various daily duties of domestic life.

6. Nothing makes a greater call on the attention than work in general, because without close attention no work can be well done; but this is especially true of work which children can do in a house, for it varies continually, and in a thousand ways, and compels them to fix their attention on a great number of different objects.

7. Further, it is by doing all sorts of work at an early age that a man acquires a sound judgment; for if his work is to succeed, the difficult circumstances under which it has to be done, must be thoroughly understood; nor can the child help being struck by the fact that failure results from errors in judgment.

8. Finally, work is also the best means of ennobling the heart of man, and of preparing him for all the domestic and social virtues. For, to teach a child obedience, unselfishness, and patience I do not think that anything can be better than work in which he engages regularly with the rest of the family.

9. As a general rule, art and books would not replace

it in any way. The best story, the most touching picture the child finds in a book is but a sort of dream for him, something unreal, and in a sense untrue; whereas what takes place before his eyes, in his own house, is associated with a thousand similar occurrences, with all his own experience as well as that of his parents and neighbors, and brings him without fail to a true knowledge of men, and develops in him a thoroughly observant mind.

4.

LETTER ON HIS WORK AT STANZ, 1799.

I wanted to prove by my experiment that if public education is to have any real value, it must imitate the methods which make the merit of domestic education; for it is my

opinion that if public education does not take into considera'tion the circumstances of family life, and everything else that bears on a man's general education, it can only lead to an artificial and methodical dwarfing of humanity.

In any good education, the mother must be able to judge daily, nay hourly, from the child's eyes, lips, and face, of the slightest change in his soul. The power of the educator, too, must be that of a father, quickened by the general circumstances of domestic life.

Such was the foundation upon which I built. I determined that there should not be a minute in the day when my children should not be aware from my face and my lips that my heart was theirs, that their happiness was my happiness, and their pleasures my pleasures.

Man readily accepts what is good, and the child readily listens to it; but it is not for you that he wants it, master and educator, but for himself. The good to which you would lead him must not depend on your capricious humor or passion; it must be a good which is good in itself and by the nature of things, and which the child can recognize as

good. He must feel the necessity of your will in things which concern his comfort before he can be expected to obey

it.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Whenever he does anything gladly, anything that brings him honor, anything that helps to realize any of his great hopes, or stimulates his powers, and enables him to say with truth, I can, then he is exercising his will.

The will, however, can not be stimulated by mere words; its action must depend upon those feelings and powers which are the result of general culture. Words alone can not give us a knowledge of things; they are only useful for giving expression to what we have in our mind.

The first thing to be done was to win the confidence and affection of the children. I was sure that if I succeeded in doing that, all the rest would follow of itself. Think for a moment of the prejudices of the people, and even of the children, and you will understand the difficulties with which I had to contend.

And yet, however painful this want of help and support was to me, it was favorable to the success of my undertaking, for it compelled me to be always everything for my children. I was alone with them from morning till night. It was my hand that supplied all their wants, both of body and soul. All needful help, consolation, and instruction they received direct from me. Their hands were in mine, my eyes were fixed on theirs.

We wept and smiled together. They forgot the world and Stanz; they only knew that they were with me and I with them. We shared our food and drink. I had neither family, friends, nor servants; nothing but them. I was with them in sickness and health, and when they slept. I was the last to go to bed, and the first to get up. In the bedroom I prayed with them, and, at their own request, taught them till they fell asleep.

« PredošláPokračovať »